A MAN performed a sex act on himself while chatting to and looking at a nine-year-old boy via his computer.

Richard Clark, 62, was found with an extensive collection of pornographic drawings and images of babies and young people on his computer.

A court heard that Clark, of Priory Street, Lewes, had been looking at child porn regularly for a five-year period. He had amassed a collection of thousands of images and hundreds of films during that time.

On Thursday, Clark was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he previously admitted seven counts of possessing and making indecent images.

He also admitted four counts of possessing drugs.

Tim Starkey, prosecuting, said: “The images found included drawings of young boys engaged in sexual acts, obviously the age is concerning.

“Babies as young as six months old and the descriptions of these images imply they are in pain and distressed.”

He said Clark had been viewing such material during a period of five years and there was a “high volume” of it – more than 2,600 images and hundreds of movies of child porn.

Mr Starkey said: “There is evidence of systematic searching of this kind of material and chat conversations over Skype.”

Clark was also found with drugs on him including MDMA and amphetamine (speed). He regularly locked himself in his room, consumed drugs and searched for child porn.

Clark was present via video link from HM Prison Lewes and sat mostly in silence, nodding in agreement during his sentencing.

Thomas Nicholson, defending, said Clark was “appalled” at what he had done. He said: “The defendant carried this out in an alcohol and drug-fuelled session and has little to no recollection of it.” He added the breakdown of Clark’s previous relationship triggered a “hermit” lifestyle which led to his behaviour.

The defendant challenged his reported obsession with pre-pubescent children but confirmed he was into under 18s. He said the baby images were of no interest to him.

Judge Mark Van Der Swart said he initially wanted to send Clark straight to prison.

He spoke directly to the defendant saying: “Your offences are so serious that none of this is any excuse really.

“Compulsion to view these images has been going on a long time and you continue to pose a risk. I have to make sure to protect children from you in the future.”

He ordered him to complete 150 hours of unpaid work and to attend rehabilitation sessions. Clark told the judge he had “a strong desire” to attend the rehabilitation programme.